About the Match
In one of the most highly anticipated matches of the BBL because of the possibility of Chris Lynn’s return, the Brisbane Heat will be taking on the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba. Both the teams started out with a victory and then faced a heavy defeat. This match will provide both of them the opportunity to arrest the slid and start their campaign to make the knockouts in earnest.
The Brisbane Heat team was under strength in the last match as Joe Burns was also ruled out in addition to the continuing absence of Chris Lynn. With all indications from the camp being that Chris Lynn is going to be back, the Heat unit will get a massive boost to their batting strength.
There are some concerns about the form that some of the other batsmen have shown though as Jimmy Peirson continues to look for runs. His position at the top of the order is very important in setting up the entire innings and so the pressure is mounting on him to deliver.
Brendon McCullum started the season with an aggressive 40 but got out cheaply in the second match. He has been in excellent form and the Heat will want him to start playing the big innings to take the pressure of Lynn.
One player that has been scoring runs is Alex Ross who has 99 runs from two matches so far. He seems to have changed his technique and is not just sweeping at every ball anymore. With Ben Cutting also clearing the boundary with ease, the middle order for the Brisbane Heat is looking quite good.
Joe Burns, though, is expected to continue to miss out for the time being due t the injury he picked up in the first match.
Daniel Vettori took the call of including aggressive leg-spinners in his ranks as a way to pick wickets up and that seems to have been paying off with Shada Khan. He is the highest wicket-taker for the Heat this season and is making scoring difficult as well.
The Heat will depend a lot on him, Swepson, and Lalor to do the damage against a dangerous Thunder side.
The story of the season so far for the Thunder has been about their reliance on Shane Watson. Not a single other batsman has made a useful contribution apart from Shane Watson. Kurtis Patterson scored 48 but it was not enough and ended up being in a losing cause.
Players like Jos Buttler, Aiden Blizzard, Ben Rohrer, and the all-rounders all need to ensure that they are making significant scores to lessen the pressure on Shane Watson.
As the undisputed leader of this side, Shane Watson started off with a brilliant 77 and then looked good in the second game as well. He has played in T20 sides in the past where he was required to score most of the runs and he actually did pretty well so we are hopeful of seeing more such bruising batting performances from him.
When it comes to the bowling, the Sydney Thunder are also bringing some spin power of their own to match the Brisbane Heat. Fawad Ahmed and Arjun Nair have been very good for the Sydney Thunder in their first two matches. Fawad Ahmed is actually giving away runs at less than 6 per over while Arjun Nair has picked up 5 wickets to be the leading wicket-taker for his side.
Add to these two an in-form Mitchell McClenaghan and the Sydney Thunder bowling is not looking too bad. There is some concern about the remaining two bowlers because that seems to be where the opposition teams get away but hopefully, the Thunder ca solve the riddle gong forward into the tournament.
Pitch and Conditions
The Gabba is expected to be bathed in sunshine for this match and provide for an excellent batting surface. There was not a lot of pace or bounce in the test match played here so batsmen can expect the surface to be an absolute belter this time as well. The large playing area means that the spinners will play a huge role for both teams.
The Brisbane Heat hold a 5-1 advantage over the Sydney Thunder in BBL contests. The Heat had a poor home record last season but they have never lost the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba. The Heat has also won three out of the last four matches between the two sides including the two most recent ones.
Back the Heat to win